Divorce is usually a private matter. Sure, your friends and family know what you’re going through, but most people don’t broadcast that news to the general public. As social media has become a ubiquitous part of modern life, that has changed—it’s remarkable what some people choose to share online. Another recent social innovation is exerting an influence on the way people approach the divorce process, and you can now crowdfund the end of your marriage.
Crowdfunding your divorce may initially seem counterintuitive, but as new platforms like Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe, and more seem to pop up weekly, this may have been inevitable. You can turn to this strategy to finance medical bills, art projects, nonprofit campaigns, and any other idea you can come up with, so why not divorce?
A few years back, California couple Sara and Josh Margulis launched a website called Honeyfund, designed to allow newlyweds to crowdsource dream honeymoons. From there they created an offshoot, Plumfund, to finance “life events.” Through this outlet, users can bankroll baby showers, support causes, throw birthday parties, and much more. Recently, they added crowdfunding divorce as an option, bringing their efforts full circle.
This probably comes as no surprise, but divorce can be an expensive undertaking. The Margulis’ had the idea after a friend was left in grim financial circumstances following a conflict-riddled divorce and an extended custody battle. Via Plumfund, family, friends, and even random strangers, should they feel so inclined, can kick in to help individuals cover the cost of dissolving their marriage.
Divorce can be a massive monetary drain, especially if it’s a contentious split. While it may seem a bit outlandish, the crowdfunding option can help protect your financial well-being moving forward so you don’t start your new life in the red. We will have to see if this model catches on, but it’s an interesting way for people to reach out for help in these situations, especially as the dollar amount can pile up in short order.
Filing And Legal Fees
Not every divorce is a heated clash between spouses trying to get the best of one another. Some are amicable, uncontested, and relatively simple. In these instances, you may be able to take a do-it-yourself approach and handle everything on your own. Still, even in these cases, filing the paperwork costs a few hundred dollars.
If there is any conflict, the price only goes up from there. Serving your spouse will cost you. Filing and responding to motions filed against you comes with fees. Going to mediation, appearing in court, and more all have price tags. Whenever forms show up anywhere or you do anything official, you will have to fork over at least a few dollars.
Crowdfunding Lawyer’s Fees
Even in the best-case scenarios, divorce can be tricky and complex, and you’ll likely be well served by talking to an attorney. The online forms may look straightforward, but a professional who deals with this type of thing on a regular basis will be able to offer peace of mind, guidance, and insight as you go through the process. This, of course, comes with a price.
Just because you consult an attorney, doesn’t mean you have to hire them. In relatively simple cases, it might be enough to have a lawyer look over your forms before officially filing them. You may want to familiarize yourself with their billing practices up front, however. For example, at Goldberg Jones, we charge a $95 fee for the initial consultation, with a $330 per hour rate if you decide to retain our services beyond that.
Child And Spousal Support
Depending on the situation, child and spousal support may come into play after your divorce is finalized. Designed to provide for the continuing care of minor children, child support payments cover everything from routine necessities, like food and shelter, to medical care and education. The amount may vary depending on the financial circumstances of both parties, need, the custody arrangement, and more factors.
Though it isn’t awarded in every case, spousal support may be a part of your final judgment. It can be ordered to ensure that your ex is able to cover financial needs after the divorce. Taking into account health, the length of the marriage, the future earning potential of both parties, and more, this number will be based on what is fair and equitable in your situation. These payments may only last a short while, or they may continue indefinitely depending on the necessity.
Less Obvious Costs Of Divorce
While most of these expenditures are obvious costs of divorce, there are less expected financial obligations that may be felt throughout the process and beyond. You will likely be faced with the costs of setting up a new household, with all of the bills, new purchases, deposits, and payments associated with that. This also depends on whether you rent or buy. Even if you stay in a once-shared marital home, you may be faced with having to cover all of the bills from a single paycheck for the first time.
Your tax situation may change, and depending on the settlement and division of property, you may incur capital gains taxes. If you and your ex took out loans as a couple, divorce doesn’t change those agreements. You’re still on the hook for the balance, and if no arrangement is made, or if payments are missed, it can negatively impact your credit.
Minimizing The Cost Of Divorce
Divorce is not cheap and is rarely easy. It’s similar to buying a car: how much you spend depends a great deal on what you need and what you’re after. A number of moving parts come into play, but there are, fortunately enough, ways to reduce some of the costs. This is especially true in uncontested splits and those where there are no children involved and little property to divide.
If you educate yourself on the process ahead of time, it will be easier to work with lawyers, judges, and mediators to reach a final agreement. Taking a hands-on approach and doing the legwork yourself can alleviate some tasks you might otherwise pay an attorney or a third party to take care of. Being organized and having all of your paperwork, records, and documents in order ahead of time may streamline the process. Pick your battles and know what you’re willing to concede or compromise on so you don’t wind up going back and forth, racking up unnecessary hourly charges, fighting over items of relatively little value.
These are just a few ways to keep the costs from spiraling out of control during your divorce. That said, there will be some bills to pay as a result, and that is precisely the kind of thing Plumfund and other crowdfunding outlets may be able to help with.
This may be an unusual approach, one that wouldn’t occur to many people, but in the present cultural picture, it’s not the most out-there idea floating around. This likely won’t be the last we hear of this phenomenon. Crowdfunding divorces may or may not catch on, but if you’re in a situation where you didn’t think it was financially feasible, this may be an option worth exploration.